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Discussion Starter #1
Last year I bought my first sled (02 ZL SS 600 EFI) and was told by a riding buddy that bottoming out over the big bumps was a fact of life.  On the last ride of the year I took his 01 ZR 500 over the same bumps I bottomed mine on the day before and didn't bottom once.  I got opinions from people on the various forums that more or less all agreed that I may have a problem with the shock or the controller for it.  I went to the dealer and they told me I needed springs, and that they were already into tractor season, to bring the sled back in October.  Since then I've talked to numerous other people, and they are all screaming springs too.  Everybody tells me that the 'cat is set up for a very light rider, and that the spring positions on the ZR are much different than on my ZL SS.  It was always my understanding from the reading I've done, that on big stuff, the SS was supposed to be stiffer than the ZR, and should not be bottoming.

Anyway... on to my questions:
1.  Should a 240lb guy expect to bottom out a stock ZL SS sled on any bump over 8"?
2.  My dealer said there's no way to test whether the shock/controller is faulty without riding it on the snow, and I'm having a hard time believing that.  Maybe it's because I'm used to cars, but there's ALWAYS a way to test something without a roadtest.  What about this?  Can it be tested without riding it?
3.  Assuming that crap is all working as intended and I just made a bad decision buying the ZL SS over a ZR, what suspension mods should I be looking into?  My sled lists the same part numbers for springs as the ZR, so I'm hoping that repositioning the mounts to mimick that of the ZR will help.  Am I on the right track?

I'm pretty green when it comes to sleds, although I'm sure that's obvious from reading my post already.  I wish these things had more in common with cars so I could approach them with a little more confidence.  
 

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I also have a SS rear skid in my 02 sled.  Had many problems with bottoming, (I'm 195 lb).  Have the springs at their stiffest position, this has made for a better ride but in certain circumstances I still bottom the front of the skid.  Talked to by dealer last spring and was going to order new parts, then he told me to wait as AC would have something available to fix the problem.  He never told me what it was but was quite adimate that I not purchase anything untill after Oct of this year.

I find that the SS skid is a much better ride as compared to my ZRT.
 

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If it's bottoming, it's a general suspension problem with multiple fixes--different springs, shocks, linkage mounting, etc.  Likely the easiest solution is good progressive-rate springs, which would be soft for small bumps but real tough near the top to prevent bottoming.
 

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Was told by a dealer recently that on an SS there is no need to switch the springs...the SS is supposed to do all the work.  That kinda makes sense, but who really knows.
 

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i read that the ZLss is stiffer than a regular ZL but not quite as stiff as a ZR. On a scale of 1-10 the Zl would be a 4-6. Zr would be a 5-9. Sno pro would be a 10+. Zlss somewhere in the middle like a 5-8. I read that in one of the mags last year. If you are 240 lbs. I would say you definitely need a heavier spring. they are only $20.00-tell your dealer to do it or go to a different dealer that will work with you. The shock can only help so much. Remember-springs "carry" the load. The shocks "control" the load. The shock basically controls the rate of return of the spring, if the spring can't handle the load and is bottoming-you need a stiffer spring.

That's my take-I have a 2000 ZL 700 (until my F7 gets here) and I very seldom bottom out. I weigh 220 lbs. myself.
 

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I have two sleds with the SS suspension.  One bottoms out.  My dealer says its not working.  He said he can fix it without snow.  As far as how stiff the ride is, the SS is self adjusting.  It is designed to automatically change from soft to firm depending on the rate and amount of travel on the shock piston.  The faster and farther the travel (big bump) the stiffer the shock valving.  This is the only thing that will keep you from bottoming out.  If you want to remove the possibility of problems with the system your dealer can install a set of ZR shocks in your skid.
 

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I would think stiffer springs would help.  I had trouble my first year with my 00zr500.  I weigh around 220 and am a pretty aggressive rider.  The dealer first thought i had a bad set of springs so they tried a new set of stock ones.  Didn't help a bit so they went to a stiffer spring.  That made a huge difference.
 

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This is from the pay side of the AMsnow forum:



ronzirt6 on 9/12/2002 9:52:00 AM
 
There have been a few posts recently regarding the smart-ride suspension rear springs. I know you dont get into the suspension end of things, but.....could you possibly find the answer regarding (what looks like by the different part #''s) the rear spring change between the ''02 and 03'' sleds?? I am the PROUD owner of a zl600 ss and the ONLY thing I am not completely happy with is the way the rear bottoms on "G-out" type bumps. If there was a change to the springs that improved my suspension, I would GLADLY cough up the $$ to upgrade my sled. Also, if there were any changes to the shocks themselves, I would have that done when they get rebuilt this fall.

Any help greatly appreciated!!

Ron  
 



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MUSKOKA800 on 9/12/2002 10:11:00 AM
30,000 miles of trail...Come-on snow!
 
ron,
the '03 models have updated springs, for the reasons you mention. You may recieve them free under warranty if you complaint to your dealer that your sled continually bottoms out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I wish my dealer was aware of some of this.  All they ever say is that I need springs, and I'm the first person that's ever had a problem.  
 

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It wasn't just the SS suspensions with problems it was most of the ZR's as well. If your dealer can't or won't help you, start calling, faxing and mailing letters to AC asking when or if they intend to fix the problem. Warranty's up soon so get crackin while its on AC's dime not yours. Rick.
 

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Hi guy's, Arctic Cat will take care of your problems if you get a hold of them. Your dealed is just being lazy and must not be worried about return business.
I have a 02 zl600ss and have no problem with mine but my daughter (105 lbs ) has the same sled and it rides to stiff, Arctic Cat said they would do what ever it took to get it ride right for her.
I brought a 99 zr, I go a out 165-170 lbs the spring was to stiff for me, they okayed lighter spring and my dealer put them on N/C.
I have a F/7 coming and I understand the spring are lighter then those in the Pro line, I guess time will tell for sure how they will ride.
My son got the zr900 last year and I keep telling him he had better lose alot his 200 lbs if he wants to keep up with the F/7s.
Hoping for a GREAT season and GREAT ride. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'll see what this dealer has to say after I bring it in. If they don't help me out, I'll be calling Artic Cat.
 
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